Marvel’s latest arc is showing some real promise for the resurrected Ultimates universe. Back in 2011 the smart folks over at Marvel made the proper decision to do a soft reboot of the Ultimate universe. After Jeph Loeb’s disastrous mutant killing extravaganza otherwise known as Ultimatum; Its has to be pretty bad when you have a “deaths” section in the wikipedia entry for your comic mini-series. Remember that the rule in the Ultimate universe is that ‘once you die, you stay dead.’ So this makes the deaths even more significant. When the 2011 relaunch began it didn’t take long for things to get started. After the “Children of Tomorrow” saga the Ultimates were put back on the road to success. Similarly, after their relaunch of the attack on mutant kind by Stryker, the Ultimate X-Men were riding high as well.
So after the difficult task of bringing both of these decimated Ultimate universe series back to life we get their most compelling storylines to date. The storylines between Ultimate X-Men and The Ultimates is so intertwined that I don’t know how you could read one and not the other. You would only get half the story, and there is no need to short change yourself. So after the previous two arcs the United States is left in a state of turmoil. The following is a discussion on some details of the Divided We Fall story arc, mild spoilers.
When we attended this year’s San Diego Comic Con we had the luxury of sitting in on the Marvel Ultimate Universe panel. I enjoyed it immensely and it really prompted me to get back into the universe after Ultimatum. So at the beginning of the arc the Southwest part of the United States is completely over run with mutant killing Sentinels, Captain America isn’t around, most of the X-Men are dead or in hiding. Things are looking pretty grim to say the least. So far the arc is pretty engaging in both series. To start, now that the Ultimates have defeated the “Children of Tomorrow” they have a new found confidence to take on the issues in the Southwest. With Captain America rejoining the team, the big three (Cap, IronMan, and Thor) put boots to asses in the region. Seeing Cap punch a couple of anti-mutant militiamen was great. At the same time Kitty Pryde is leading her team of mutants to start a resistance movement in the region. Having Pryde take on a leadership role is fantastic. Writer, Brian Wood, keeps the characters deep and interesting. Pryde is conflicted between her own need to save her people and the level of danger she is willing to subject her friends too. When the Ultimates and X-Men meet I’m sure Cap and Kitty Pryde will share some great moments together discussing the new roles and fears that the two share.
What does Divided We Fall really mean? In the Ultimates universe, mutants and super-powered heroes have been largely divided, with some exceptions. Divided We Fall seems like a way to mend this gap. I like where both series are going, especially Ultimate X-Men. Could Kitty Pryde be the savior of the mutant race, and the U.S. as a whole? Or will she need the human super-powered heroes to give her the last moment boost? These are interesting and fair questions and I think Brian Wood is building a fast yet stable story to get us there. I think Kitty will end up even more reflective after this event is over than most others, with the exception of Captain America, perhaps. His leaving the Ultimates over Spider-Man’s death is mirrored with the inevitable team up with 17 year old Kitty Pryde, and her very young X-Men. If you haven’t read either series (starting in 2011) do yourself a favor and get on it! Frankly, besides Uncanny X-Force and the launch of Uncanny Avengers I am not sure there is a Marvel series I’m more excited to read.